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Selection criteria (or key selection criteria) are standards that job applicants need to meet. These include qualifications, knowledge, skills, abilities and experience.

Some examples are:

  • excellent research and analytical skills
  • well developed written and oral communication skills
  • ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • a degree in a relevant field.

You must always address the selection criteria when applying for a job. This is the most important part of your application.

Selection panels will:

  • use these to decide who to short-list for interview
  • base interview questions around the selection criteria.

Finding the selection criteria

The selection criteria may appear in advertisements, position descriptions or duty statements.

Some employers do not use the label of selection criteria. You may need to analyse the job to find what the employer is looking for in candidates. For example, if the role involves dealing with clients, it implies the need for interpersonal and customer service skills.

See employability skills for help in working out which skills employers look for in candidates.

How to address the selection criteria

State how your skills match the requirements of the job and organisation. Be clear about how your skills have been developed or applied.

List examples

It is vital you provide relevant examples to back up your statements. Avoid using vague examples. Be specific to show you have the knowledge, skills or experience needed.

Use examples from your course, employment (paid or voluntary), social or sporting activities.

  • Use a range of experiences.
  • Select recent and complex examples.
  • Use specific, real life examples.

Formatting your responses

  • Use dot points to keep the information concise.
  • Start each point with an action verb. This makes your application sound strong.
  • Keep the length to a paragraph or half a page (senior roles may require longer responses).

Always follow employer instructions. This means you must comply with word limits and follow guidelines on the format.

Depending on employer requests, you will address selection criteria in one of these formats:

  • cover letter
  • resume
  • statement of claims
  • employer application form.

Cover letter

Your cover letter should have a couple of paragraphs describing the skills you bring to the position. Make sure they are relevant to the selection criteria.

Selection criteria Response
Ability to examine and report on a company's financial records. My role as Treasurer of the Green Club required that I maintain financial records and report to the management committee. This has added to my knowledge in compliance and governance issues and clarified my interests in auditing as a career pathway.


Your resume should have a skills section. This should include skills that relate directly to the selection criteria. You can give evidence by referring to several relevant experiences.

Selection criteria Response
Ability to work as a part of a team. My excellent team skills are demonstrated in casual employment in hospitality, membership of the Monash Netball Club and participation in team-based academic assignments.

Alternatively, you could incorporate skills when describing your job responsibilities in the employment section of your resume.

Selection criteria Response
Ability to work as a part of a team. Operated as an effective team member and consistently contributed successfully to the quarterly sales targets.

Statement of claims

Make a separate document and type all selection criteria exactly as written. This forms the headings to provide the relevant information.

The advantages of this approach are:

  • you stay focused on the specific criterion
  • it is easier for the reader to see how you match each selection criterion.
Selection criteria Response
Must have excellent written and oral communication skills. My excellent communication skills include the ability to listen to others and present detailed information clearly and concisely. I am able to adapt my presentation style to suit different audiences and situations. For example, as a call centre operator, I respond to customer enquiries about transferring energy consumer deals to 'Green Energy' customer plans. This requires me to explain clearly the details of the payment schemes.

Employer application form

Application forms often have behavioural or competency-based questions, such as 'Describe a time when you set a goal and achieved it'. You should answer these using the STAR model (Situation, Task, Action and Result) as described in sample interview questions.

Employers use a range of application forms. For more information, see application methods.